Lietuva in brief - 2004-03-25

  • 2004-03-25
Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis (photo) attended a Madrid memorial service on March 23 for the victims of the terrorist bombings.

Valionis, who flew to Madrid directly from a special meeting of the EU's External Relations Committee in Brussels, joined dignitaries and officials from around the world who paid their respects in the Spanish capital.

Following a special meeting of the parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee on March 22, Chairman Alvydas Sadeckas called for heightened security in Lithuania due to the threat of global terrorism.

The Labor Party, founded last autumn by millionaire Viktor Uspaskich, maintained its position as the country's most popular political party, with 20.2 percent of respondents to a poll conducted by the daily Lietuvos Rytas saying they would vote for the party in October's parliamentary elections. The party also fielded its first candidate for the European Parliament, World Bank adviser Ona Jukneviciene.

Parliamentary Chairman Arturas Paulau-skas (photo) met with Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo on March 22. Paulauskas, who was in Japan on a working visit with Yohei Kono, speaker of that country's house of representatives, discussed mutual cultural ties between Lithuania and Japan and the historical development of the Baltic state with the emperor.

An annual survey of the world's cities ranked Vilnius as the most livable of the Baltic capitals and one of the most desirable in which to live in Eastern Europe. The survey, conducted by Mercer Human Resources Consulting, placed Vilnius 84th of 215 cities worldwide, with Tallinn and Riga taking the 98th and 101st places, respectively. The Swiss cities of Geneva and Zurich tied for first in the survey, while Prague was deemed the most livable city among the EU accession states.

Violent winds caused a temporary halt in operations at Klaipeda's port on March 21. Waves of up to 4 meters prevented seven ships from making their scheduled departures from the port, while the regular ferry service linking the town of Smiltyne on the Curonian Spit to the mainland were suspended.